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Protest in Durban over nuclear deal

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“Stop this madness,” says protester

Photo of anti-nuclear protest
Protesters in Durban voiced their concerns about South Africa’s nuclear deal with Russia. Photo: Nomfundo Xolo
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Today, the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) held a protest at the Department of Mineral Resources in Durban, opposing South Africa’s nuclear deal with Russia.

More than 100 protesters stood outside offices of the department on Anton Lembede Street,. Members of the public joined.

The crowd demanded that the government should hold public hearings on the nuclear deal before any further commitments are made and that government should opt instead for renewable energy.

Desmond D’sa, coordinator of the anti-nuclear campaign in Durban and the chairperson of SDCEA, said: “The Nuclear Bill is going to bankrupt South Africa. Young people will not be able to afford their livelihoods, never mind electricity.”

He said renewable energy would create jobs.

Protester Snenhlanhla Chiliza from Illovo, South of Durban, said that she came to demonstrate her anger towards the nuclear procurement process. “If South Africa is a democratic country as it is claimed to be, why is this deal held in secret and why are our concerns not being heard?” she asked.

In September 2014‚ Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson signed an agreement with Russia on strategic partnership and cooperation in the fields of nuclear power and industry‚ which was then authorised by President Jacob Zuma

The process around South Africa’s nuclear plans, which will see 9,600MW of nuclear power added to the grid, has raised questions with unrevealed details surrounding the project – including its cost.

“The idea is to put pressure to the government to stop this madness, and to demonstrate nationally that we do not want uranium mines in South Africa. The trillions that are going to be wasted could make a tremendous impact if used not for the nuclear power, but instead put towards education and service delivery,” said Nothando Mbetshe, SDCEA member.

South Community Environmental Alliance’s handed the memorandum to the managers at the Department of Mineral Resources who did not want to comment.

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